Every New Years Day I hike to Buddha Beach along Oak Creek in Sedona; every New Years Day I build a cairn (stack of rocks) to set my intentions for the year. I have been doing this since 2009; typically every year is similar. The weather varies, but I live in Arizona, our weather is pretty predictable... usually sunny, maybe a few clouds and mild during this time of year. After all, that is why people move here, right? My family tradition is the same routine every year as well (if you know my husband, you know that he is a creature of habit and altering the tradition proves nerve racking for him), we stop at Starbucks, we drive to Sedona, we go to Crescent Moon Park, park and hike the mile (ish) back to Buddha Beach where all of us, our children included, build our cairn for the year. We then leave and have lunch at Oak Creek Brewery, walk around the art galleries, then head to town to visit our favorite psychic and crystal shops.
There have been only 2 years where this plan was altered... 2015 and this year, 2017. Interestingly, 2015 was a huge year of change for our family. I left my teaching job to pursue following my soul purpose of helping others. I took a job working with highly creative and open people, people who understood me and the gifts that I have. New Years Day 2015 Sedona was covered in about 4 inches of snow! We drove to Crescent Moon Park and were unable to get in, we had to wait for the snow plow to clear the parking lot. It was going to take about 2 hours for that to happen, so we did a reverse New Years Day. Shopping and lunch first, then the hike to Buddha Beach. Every year I chose a word to represent my year, in 2015 it was "CHANGE"... and change it did! 2015 brought so many messages, lessons and insights.
This year, again we were surprised by our time at Crescent Moon Park. December 31st it rained ALL DAY in Arizona; something that does not happen often. North Phoenix reaching all the way to Flagstaff was pounded by rain and snow. When we arrived at the park the rain had finally tapered off, the clouds began to break; it was cold (about 45*) but we were determined to make our hike and build our cairns. About a quarter of the way back we were met by a raging Oak Creek, water flowing with power that I have never seen in the 9 years that I have been going there. Of course I took this as a sign... a sign that 2017 was not going to be a typical year for me, for us, yet again. My word for 2017 came to me in two words.... "INDEPENDENCE" & "ABUNDANCE". Here I was, standing in a canyon, along Oak Creek and saw my words in action! I took a few moments to walk to the creek edge, sit on a red rock, quiet my mind and listen to what the lesson was. Right in front of me the current was creating a whirlpool; debris was rushing along with the current, twisting and turning in whirlpool, then effortlessly continuing on its way down stream. Each stick, flower, reed, etc... was alone, independent of all other debris, did it get caught in the whirlpool? Yes, yet, somehow it continued along the path after being spun around for a bit. Independent of everything, taken off path for a fleeting moment, yet able, with the abundance of water, to right its course and go with the flow of the powerful current. The abundance of water, flowing everywhere! Blocking our path back to Buddha Beach, flowing over the red rocks; yet creating the most beautiful sounds and sights!
This was very symbolic to me... I connected with that debris, I have been traveling along MY path, independent of so many things... I have been stuck in my fair share of whirlpools and 2016 felt like one toward the end. I was comforted watching the debris break free of the whirlpool and continue on the "right path"... flowing with current of life. This is what I feel 2017 will be for me, for my family. I learned a lot from those few minutes next to Oak Creek. In life there will be flow, there will be whirlpools; we just need to ride them out and allow nature/ the universe to guide up back to the current (path) we were meant to be on.